His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
Eulogy for Lila Prounis
Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Greek Orthodox Cathedral
New York, New York
January 9, 2024
Beloved Children: Othon and Amelia,
Dear Grandchildren: Alexa, Philip, Alexander and Karina,
Dear Family and Friends of Lila Prounis,
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The passing of your beloved Lila is painful, as is every parting and separation. She has been such a part of your lives for so long, that to think of a day when you feel the finality of this farewell, must be bitter indeed to bear.
In the midst of your grieving, we have gathered here at the Cathedral she loved so much, and that she served so well, to commend her soul to Heaven, her mortal remains to the earth, and her memory to one another.
You – her children and grandchildren – are bereaved of a mother and grandmother of extraordinary love and care. And I must also say, that the Greek Orthodox Church of America has lost one of its great women. For Lila served for decades in a humble, quiet, and most effective way. Of course, I speak of her representation of the Archdiocese at the United Nations.
Lila “held down the fort,” as they say, for many, many years for our Church at the United Nations, and she prepared the groundwork for the truly substantive relationship that we have today. Without her dedication, her resolve, and her professional skill, we would not have the synergies we possess in the present day.
And what Lila did for her Church, she did as well in the wider community. She and her beloved Ted were involved in various philanthropies and charities, and in the political and social life of New York. Vibrancy and buoyancy were her hallmarks in all that she did. All of our lives are richer because of her service; and today, we are all a little poorer, recognizing what a great loss this is for everyone.
That is why we gather to support one another in the funeral rites today. More than the honoring of her earthly temple, more than commending her soul to God, we assemble as the Church family to affirm her memory.
Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη αὐτῆς. May her memory be eternal.
This is how we express our desire to hold her in our hearts, as we move forward. She can never be forgotten, because her memory is held in the mind of God, which is ever-seeing and ever-knowing.
But it is not natural for us to be able to hold any memory – no matter how good or how bad – in the constant flow of our consciousness. We must direct our thoughts and feelings. And so, we do so today. We pause in the privacy of our thoughts, to remember Lila in her best and brightest. We gather as a Church family to recall here dedication and devotion.
And over the coming days, weeks, months, and years – you will continue to gather as her immediate family and friends to reflect on her meaning to you, and to hold in your hearts the happiness that you shared.
Memory and time have a way of healing every wound, especially those of the heart. That is why we grieve, as the Apostle Paul says, but as people with hope.*
Hope of the Resurrection.
Hope of reuniting.
Hope of eternal life in God.
Therefore, dear family and friends of our beloved sister, Lila, let us hold fast that hope, even as we hold fast her memory.
Loves that are worthy of tears when the moment of parting comes. Allow yourselves that.
But let us also affirm that it is God Who punctuates every life, and that He now holds Lila in the mansions of the Saints and the joy of the redeemed.
May He grant her eternal and heavenly rest in His glorious Kingdom, and grant unto you all his consolation and comfort, in this, the hour of your mourning.
May her memory be eternal.
Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη αὐτῆς.
* Cf. I Thessalonians 4:13
Photo: Yanni Malevitis